Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)

Haemul Pajeon recipe 1

Pajeon is a Korean savory pancake made with scallions. Pa means scallion, and jeon means pan-fried battered food. A popular variation of pajeon is haemul pajeon, which is made with seafood. Pajeon is one of Koreans’ all-time favorite snacks or appetizers to share when gathered around the table with friends and family.  Everyone always loves it!

Commercially available pancake mix (buchim garu, 부침가루) is a pantry staple in Korean homes. It is seasoned and typically includes flour and other ingredients such as corn starch, rice flour and baking powder for a crispy texture. Sometimes, Korean home cooks combine pancake mix with frying mix (twuigim garu, 튀김가루) for extra crispy pancakes. Try it if you have a bag of frying mix, using a 1:1 ratio.

Pajeon - Crispy Korean seafood scallion pancakes!

However, you can easily make pancake mix from scratch at home. Starting with flour, simply add rice flour and/or corn starch along with a little bit of baking powder if you have any. Add some minced garlic and ginger (or powder), and season with salt. 

Usually, a combination of seafood, such as squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters and clams, is used, but you can simply use any one (or two) of them.

Haemul Pajeon - Korean seafood scallion pancakes!

There are different ways to pan fry scallion pancakes. Sometimes, I combine everything together in the mix before pan-frying. Other times, I only mix the seafood in the batter and then later add the scallions on top when frying. Some people put the scallions first in the pan to crisp up and then spread the batter and the seafood on top. Try these different techniques and see which one you like. 

The biggest question everyone asks is how to make pajeon extra crispy. There are a few things you should remember. We already talked about the addition of corn starch and/or rice powder. You should also use icy cold water to make the batter. Use a generous amount of oil, and turn the heat up a little to finish it up. 

Haemul Pajeon - Crispy Korean seafood scallion pancakes!

Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)
Serves 4
Haemul pajeon - crispy delicious Korean scallion pancakes with seafood!
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Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 cups assortment of seafood (squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters, clams, etc.), cut into bite sizes
  2. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  3. 1 bunch (or 2 if small) scallions, cut in half lengthwise
  4. 1/2 red chili pepper, thinly sliced – optional
  5. 1/2 green chili pepper, thinly sliced – optional
  6. 1 egg, lightly beaten - optional
Batter - makes 2 large (about 7 to 8-inch) pancakes
  1. 1 cup Korean pancake mix (buchim garu, 부침가루)
  2. (or 3/4 flour, 2 tablespoons rice (or sweet rice) flour, 2 tablespoons potato or cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
  3. 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ginger finely minced (or juiced)
  5. 1 egg, lightly beaten
Dipping Sauce
  1. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  2. 1 teaspoon vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon water
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  5. pinch of black pepper
  6. pinch of gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the seafood, scallions, and optional peppers, draining the excess water. (Wet ingredients will make pajeon soggy.) Mix the seafood with the sesame oil.
    Seafood scallion pancake
  2. In a large bowl, mix the pancake mix with 3/4 cup icy cold water and the egg. Add a little more water until the batter is slightly thick but still runny. (For crispy pajeon, the batter should be relatively thin.) Mix in 2/3 of the seafood.
    Haemul Pajeon - Korean seafood scallion pancakes!
  3. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat, ladle 1/2 of the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly into a thin round shape.
    Haemul Pajeon - Korean seafood scallion pancakes!
  4. Arrange the scallions in a single layer on top of the batter, and add 1/2 of the remaining seafood and a few slices of the optional peppers.
    Haemul Pajeon - Korean seafood scallion pancakes!
  5. Spoon one half of the optional lightly beaten egg on top. Cook until the bottom is golden brown (3 – 4 minutes), and turn it over, adding more oil (2 to 3 tablespoons). Turn up the heat briefly to medium high to crisp up the pancakes.
    Haemul Pajeon - Korean seafood scallion pancakes!
  6. Press it down with a spatula, and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining batter and ingredients. Serve hot off the pan with dipping sauce.
    Haemul Pajeon - Korean seafood scallion pancakes!
Optional method
  1. You can mix everything with the batter and follow the direction above for pan-frying.
    Haemul Pajeon - Korean seafood scallion pancakes!
Korean Bapsang http://www.koreanbapsang.com/

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:
    great post
  2. thanks for sharing.
  3. I love this dish. As a variation, I have made it with clams only, since I live in New England and clams are cheap and delicious here at a dollar a pound. I use the juice from the clams in place of the water in the batter.
  4. My jeon did not come out very crispy and I think it's because I used too much batter for each one. Can you tell me how many pancakes you usually get out this recipe? Thanks. Also, I love your site.
    • It could have been too thick. Also, using a bit more oil and higher heat will help if you like it very crispy. I don't remember how many, but I'll count them and update the post next time I make this. Thanks!
  5. Thank you for the quick response! I'm looking forward to trying again.
  6. Hi Hyosun :)

    Do i need to add minced garlic or ginger juice to ready made buchim garu? Ingredients on packaging listed wheat flour, salt, pepper and onion powder

    Thanks!
  7. Anonymous says:
    Thank you for posting this. Buchim garu isn't available everywhere; your recipe looks like a good substitute. Every other recipe for jeon I found online either calls for buchim garu or just flour, which obviously would be missing something.
  8. sUjittra soontrontip says:
    พาจอนของเกาหลีชอบมากๆอร่อยค่ะ
  9. Carousel Ussher says:
    Made this for our family's New Years Eve bash... It was a big hit. Thanks for sharing!
  10. Thank you for recipe^^. It turned out great^^.
  11. what is rice powder? is it the same as rice flour?
  12. Russ wagner says:
    I love your site and recipes. My wife is korean and doesn't know how to cook so I make her and my kids lots of your home favorites:) I was wondering if you have a recipe or could help with a recipe. We got a bunch of dried squid from Korea and my mother in law makes dried squid pancakes that are out of this world. I can't find any recipe for this. Any ideas? Thank you Russ
    • Hi Russ - Thank you for the nice words! That's awesome you make Korean food for your family! There are various ways to make it, but basically you will need to soak the dried squid for several hours until softened, and then chop into small pieces to mix with the batter and other ingredients of your choice. Hope this helps.